October 27, 2008
If you didn't get a chance to attend Richard Williams' masterclass at the 2008 Ottawa International Animation Festival, and live on the west coast, you may have another chance to catch him. Beginning today, the award-winning animator will be touring several west coast cities until November 7th.

Tonight, ACM SIGGRAPH's Vancouver chapter will host a free two-hour masterclass, signing and a screening of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

On Wednesday the 29th, he will be in Redmond, WA, at as a run-up to Seattle's 2D Or Not 2D festival. While the event is free, it is open only to DigiPen BFA alumni and working professionals, so follow the link if you qualify to find out how to get your tickets.

On Thursday the 30th, it's Portland time with the Cascade ACM SIGGRAPH chapter. The event is free for chapter members and 5.00 dollars for everyone else, but attendees need to RSVP by the 28th.

The last public event on November 2nd happens in San Francisco. A benefit for ASIFA-SF, this event will feature the two-hour masterclass and the event will be moderated by author and chapter president Karl Cohen (shown above, left, with Richard Williams, and Cohen's wife Denise McEvoy at the OIAF Animators' Picnic). The admission is only 9.00 dollars and only 6.50 for a child or a senior. A mere pittance for the wealth of information and experience that will be available and to help a great organization.

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October 12, 2008


Looks like a little company called Project 760 Productions in San Francisco used to produce a neat little cable show called World of Anime back in the day. Check out this clip featuring an interview with anime scholar, Fred Schodt then hop on over to their YouTube channel to watch more archival clips.

Previously on fps:
WFAC 2008 - Fred Schodt, John O'Donnell and Brian Ruh to Discuss Grave of the Fireflies

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May 29, 2008
Richard Williams is one of animation's living legends; if you don't know why, then all you have to do is follow these three steps: (1) Rent Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (2) Watch the opening scene, in which Roger is tormented in an homage to Tex Avery. (3) Put your eyes back in your head when you realize that was probably one of the least remarkable bits of animation Williams has ever directed.

If you're in San Francisco tomorrow, you can better appreciate Williams' brilliance at ASIFA-SF's tribute to the master, a free event in honour of his 75th birthday. His title sequences, commercials and more will be screened, along with the documentary I Drew Roger Rabbit and an eight-minute promo of the soon-to-be-released DVD set of his Animation Masterclass lecture given at Blue Sky Studios.

The screenings will be at the McBean Theater in the Exploratorium Museum tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

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October 31, 2007
Three new podcasts this week, all focusing on the San Francisco Bay Area studio Little Fluffy Clouds. First, two shorts: their 2003 Au Petite Mort, which I favourably reviewed in my coverage of SIGGRAPH 2003; and Alignment, one of three ads they produced for IBM. Finally, there's my interview with Betsy de Fries and Jerry Van de Beek, who have been busily creating animated commercials since they founded the studio in 1996.

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July 4, 2007
There's once again talk of a Samurai Jack feature, but this time, rather more sensibly, it's to be animated, with creator Genndy Tartakovsky directing. Fred Seibert has launched Frederator Films (along with Kevin Kolde and Eric Gardner), with the aim of producing animated features for under $20 million. Aside from Samurai Jack, the other initial projects are stop-motion The Neverhood (based on the game I praised last year, with creator Doug TenNapel on board to direct) and the hip-hop The Seven Deadly Sins, with Don King signed to provide a voice (!).

If you happen to find yourself in Beja, Portugal in the next two months, the Animatu digital animation festival is screening the best of last year's films. In July they'll be screening a short every hour from 9:00 p.m. to midnight at the Galeria do Desassossego; in August they'll be screening a short before every feature on Mondays at the Pax Julia Municipal Theatre. And if you're a digital filmmaker, don't forget: you've still got just under two weeks to submit your work for this year's festival. (The new deadline's July 15.)

Teheran's Experimental and Documentary Film Center wants to kick-start Iran's animation industry by supporting the production of more animated shorts, as well as theatrical features, with an emphasis on films with a distinctive directorial touch. I'm all for auteur cinema, especially those that are distinctly of the culture that produced them, but I'm curious as to the flavour of the films that will be produced, as Iran has a history of being less than supportive of films the government deems anti-Islamic, anti-Iranian or anti-government (including the recent Persepolis). In some cases that makes the resulting films more interesting, as directors find new, creative ways of slipping in their messages while getting around state censors and critics.

This Saturday the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco plays host to Blast Off!, an exhibition on comics and manga that will feature taiko drumming, cosplay, panel discussions with Gilles Poitras and Fred Schodt, and more. The event, which ties into the museum's Osamu Tezuka exhibit, appears to have the goal of connecting teens who are into manga and anime with a deeper understanding of Japan, anime and manga. Cool.

July 11 will see a tribute to Woody Woodpecker in Hollywood, at Mann's Chinese 6 Theater. On the guest list are Leonard Maltin, Billy West, June Foray, Maurice LaMarche and Phil Roman. (I'm assuming that there will be actual Woody Woodpecker cartoons screened as well, but there's no mention.) People in the neighbourhood can go to this event for free, and the rest of us can watch the show online. Either way, you'll need to visit the website to sign up.

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